Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Building Arguments With Evidence

Part 2: Constructing Arguments

Keristy Nieto | Published: June 24th, 2022 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 10th, 11th, 12th
  • Subject Subject English/Language Arts
  • Course Course A.P. Language and Composition, Composition
  • Time Frame Time Frame 100 minutes
  • Duration More 2-3 class periods


This lesson is designed to take place after completion of another K20 lesson, "Arguing With Evidence." Students will read an article from the New York Times and integrate knowledge of key terms to construct an argument based on a claim, evidence, and reasoning.

Essential Question(s)

What techniques do writers use to convince their readers?



Students watch a video on important issues facing young people today in order to activate prior knowledge.


Students choose writing prompts from the New York Times to serve as the topic of their argumentative essay.


Students use the Why-Lighting strategy to annotate articles chosen from the New York Times.


Students use the C-E-R strategy to begin constructing essays.


Students develop a five-paragraph argumentative essay with a thesis, claims, evidence, and reasoning.


  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • I Know, I Notice, I Wonder (attached; one per student)

  • C-E-R (attached; one per student)

  • Argument Outline (attached; one per student)

  • Argumentative Essay Evaluation Rubric (attached; one per student)

  • Computer, projector, and internet access

  • Student devices (Chromebook, laptop, tablet, etc.; one per student)

    • If devices are not available, you may print the articles for students

  • Highlighters (if devices are not available)

  • Pencils


Using the attached Lesson Slides, introduce students to the essential question on slide 3 and the objectives on slide 4.

Go to slide 5. Provide students with a copy of the attached handout, I Know, I Notice, I Wonder. To access prior knowledge, students will use a modified form of the I Notice, I Wonder strategy. Ask students to list three things they learned during the previous lesson, "Deconstructing Arguments."

Go to slide 6. Provide the instructions to students: they will complete the middle section of the handout as they watch the approximately 6-minute YouTube video, "The Greatest Issues Facing Young People." They will be writing what they notice as they watch the video, located on slide 7.

When the video is finished, go to slide 8. Have students complete the final section of the handout, writing down two things about which they still wonder. Encourage students to share what they wrote on the handout with an Elbow Partner and then ask volunteers to share with the entire class.


Go to slide 9. Pass out a laptop, tablet, or Chromebook to each student.

Explain to students that they will be constructing a written argument on a topic that they find important. They may choose any writing prompt and accompanying "New York Times" article located at

Allow approximately 10 minutes for students to skim available topics and articles. Students will only choose one topic and accompanying article.

Instruct students they are to write on a scrap sheet of paper for 1 minute. The purpose of writing is to explain why they are choosing their article. Assure students they will not be graded on grammar or spelling, but on ideas.

After 1 minute is up, have students turn to their Elbow Partner and explain why they are choosing the specific article.


Go to slide 10. After students have each chosen a writing prompt/article, instruct them to copy and paste it into Google Docs. Students will use the Why-Lighting strategy to annotate the articles. In why-lighting, students highlight any passage they find important. They then comment on the chosen passages in the margins and explain why they chose those passages.

Allow students approximately 20 minutes to read the prompt/articles and complete why-lighting.


Go to slide 11. Pass out the C-E-R handout.

Explain to students that at the bottom of each prompt/article, there is a "STUDENTS" section with questions for student evaluation. Instruct students they are to choose three of the questions to answer. They are to write each question in the "question" section of the C-E-R handout.

Go to slide 12. Remind students that in the previous lesson, they learned the terms claim and evidence. Students are to answer each question with a claim of their own, support it with evidence from the article, and explain why in the reasoning section.


Go to slide 13. Students will then complete the Argument Outline handout. Remind students of the term thesis learned in the previous lesson.